Celebrities are lending their voices to a campaign urging peace in the Middle East.
The likes of Gene Simmons, Michael Bublé, Selma Blair, Meghan McCain, and Haim Saban have joined more than 120 entertainment industry professionals to sign an open letter endorsed by the non-profit organization Creative Community for Peace, calling for "peace, balanced discourse and an end to inflammatory one-sided accounts," amid escalating conflict between Israel and Palestinians, according to Variety.
"There has to be a way to sit down and talk through differences," said Simmons.
"I pray for peace," added Saban.
More than 200 lives reportedly have been claimed in the tension this week alone. In response to the conflict, there has been a surge of memes and posts on social media, many from celebrities including Israeli actor Gal Gadot, who was slammed for a post in which she called for unity.
"My country is at war. I worry for my family, my friends. I worry for my people," she wrote in a tweet last week. "This is a vicious cycle that has been going on for far too long. Israel deserves to live as a free and safe nation, Our neighbors deserve the same. I pray for the victims and their families, I pray for this unimaginable hostility to end, I pray for our leaders to find the solution so we could live side by side in peace. I pray for better days."
In response, media personalities rebuked her "tone-deaf" and "harmful" post. The tweet, as well as the comments, only serves to "increase the animosity and hatred, which unfortunately, has real life consequences,” said Creative Community for Peace entertainment attorney and director, Ari Ingel, adding that this was exasperating the issue.
"Misinformation that is being spread online and then amplified by social media influencers, influencers with no real knowledge of what is happening, is only working to inflame the situation, instead of working to de-escalate it and work through some sort of resolution to the situation," Ingel explained. "The misleading and fallacious memes that are being posted from people that have no real concept of what is happening there and are not experts on the conflict are just making a horrible situation far worse."
Ingel further stated that celebrities who are instead "calling for an end to the violence and not choosing sides," needed to have their voices elevated.
"That is really what entertainers should be doing," Ingel said. "Because it’s horrible that both Israelis and Palestinians are suffering. We need to de-escalate this violence as soon as possible."
In the open letter, Creative Community for Peace, as well as its signatories, "call on the leaders of all parties to end the violence, urge calm, and work toward de-escalation" as well as for unity among the public, and entertainers.
"When lives are at stake, we all bear responsibility to unite rather than divide," the letter adds. "Incendiary language only benefits those at the extremes who have no interest in peace. Our thoughts are with all Israelis and Palestinians who are experiencing unfathomable levels of fear and violence, and hope for the day when both peoples can live side by side in peace."
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